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Rob
01-30-04, 11:08 AM
Looking Back - Looking Forward, 2003 - 2004

It's been a while since I've actually sat down to write an editorial for this column so I figured I'd make the time now and just do it. :)

2003 was a rough year for me both personally and professionally. As some of you may have noticed, I wasn't around here much during the last quarter of 2003. For various reasons, I had to realign my priorities which, to say the least, were pretty screwed up. A lot of reflection and soul-searching was done in respect to various aspects of my life and some of it proved to be positive and productive while some of it proved to be catastrophic and destructive. You win some, you lose some...

I think one of the most important lessons I learned out of 2003 is, you can't please everyone and there are some people who you will never be able to please. Unfortunately, I found out the hard way through the loss of someone that I cared for a great deal. As you go through life, you realize, some people will never be happy and can never be pleased - no matter what you do or say or think. The lesson to learn here, is how to identify those individuals quickly, before you end up putting yourself six feet under trying to understand them.

Freedom of Speech

Here within the forums, we saw a tremendous amount of growth. In many ways, we're starting to experience some of the teething problems associated with large amounts of growth in short periods of time. The primary teething problem that we ran into was the question of freedom of speech here in the forums.

Just so that we're absolutely clear on what the first amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights states:


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.It's interesting to note here that this Amendment basically states, that the U.S. government cannot make any laws that prohibit freedom of speech, etc. This law was established for the U.S. government and not the citizens of the U.S. The freedom of speech is something that we all understand to be a basic, inherent freedom of a human being. Some would argue that it's a God-granted right.

December of 2003 proved to test this amendement in respects to how it's handled here in the forums in relation to honoring embargoes; particularly the embargo set forth by General Motors on certain C6 Corvette pictures and documentation that was leaked.

Because we were working with automotive journalist, Hib Halverson in conjunction with General Motors to release that information here, AFTER the embargo was lifted at 12:01 am, January 1, 2004, I chose to honor that embargo and establish a public rule, or law stating that if any forum members posted those select C6 photographs, or the information (RPO codes, specifications, etc.) that were covered under the embargo, those individuals would be banned from these forums.

Was it an extreme stance to take? Yes, and maybe I should have exercised just a little more ease. However, given past experiences, when I've been easy and vague on some issues, there's always been those few individuals who feel the need to test the boundaries and see how far they can push the limits. Due to the nature of this issue - the GM embargo, I made it a point to be extremely clear and concise on where I stood leaving no room for interpretation or argument. From that point on, members had a choice - either go along with the rule and honor the embargo, or don't honor the embargo and risk being banned.

As expected several individuals decided to take an opposing stance and clearly state that I had no right to infringe on their first amendment rights. On the contrary, I have every right to do so if I so choose. I am not the United States Government and I have no responsibility to abide by the first amendment. What some people forget to realize is, I own and operate the Corvette Action Center. I pay the bills such as the software, the servers and the bandwidth. I pay the bills for some of the content, such as the C6 Intro article by Hib Halverson as well as another feature article coming in May of this year. We have some revenue that comes in from company advertising and a little bit of money comes in from those forum members who wish to contribute whatever they want and become a Supporting Member, but for the most part, the money for this web site comes out of my pocket.

I have a separate job that pays to put food on my table and pays to keep this site up and running for everyone to access on the web. Therefore, when I choose to honor an embargo set forth by General Motors, that is my choice, and I have every right to make that choice, honor that embargo and enforce it here in the forums.

Since I've heard more lies and mis-information regarding this issue in the last few months, I want to clearly state, yet again: General Motors does not financially support the Corvette Action Center in any matter, shape or form. I do not work for General Motors. I am not an employee of General Motors. I am not an independent contractor working for General Motors. There is no legal or insitutional documents outlining any type of working relationship between me/the Corvette Action Center and General Motors.

It was my choice to honor the embargo set forth. Why? Because by doing so, we will hopefully be able to continue to provide exclusive Corvette information, like the C6 Intro. article by Hib here before anyone else does. The other reason I chose to honor the embargo is because those pictures and information were secured as "confidential only". Information is deemed "confidential" for a reason. It was my personal choice to insure that the Corvette Action Center kept that degree of confidentiality. These are the two, and only reasons why I chose to honor the embargo.

If you choose to view that as kissing GM's ass, or sucking up to GM, so be it. When you run your own web site and pay the bills for its operation, you can do what you want when it comes to dealing with GM.

Respect Your Fellow Forum Members

The other issue we've had to deal with recently is the "perceived quality" of a few select members in terms of what they do or do not contribute to the overall quality of the Corvette Action Center.

Sexual orientation has suddenly come under the spotlight here in the forums. Since I've already dealt with this whole issue over and over and over again, let me just simply restate a few points:

The Corvette Action Center will not discriminate against anyone regardless of race, color, creed, religion or sexual orientation.
If you feel that a member is providing information that may be erroneous, it is your responsibility as a member of this community to speak up, and correct that member and help out your fellow forum members by providing the correct information.
If you feel that a member is intentionally providing mis-information, then you have a responsibility to bring this member to the attention of someone within the administration so that they can handle it properly.
If another member irritates you, or you just want to ignore that member all together, click on the UserCP link in the upper left hand corner of the blue navigation bar. In the left hand menu on the next page, go to Buddy/Ignore List and enter that member's username in your Ignore list. Simple as that.
These forums exist for the exchange of Corvette related information between owners and enthusiasts. There are no requirements for membership here - regardless of ownership status, sex, race, color, creed, religion or sexual orientation.
Some members feel that I have "slacked" off from enforcing what it is we stand for, when in fact, I have not. I haven't said anything above that I have not said here time and time again. If someone is a Corvette owner or enthusiast, that is ALL that matters here. Try to be a better human being, put some of your personal differences aside and try to broaden your horizons just a bit, rather than living within a tube utilizing a one-frame mind. You don't necessarily have to accept everything, but there's also no reason to persecute either.

Looking Ahead

In looking ahead to 2004, we are once again on the brink of breaking 10,000 members. Yes, we did get up to around 10,250 members as of last week, however, I have pruned the Member Database and removed 250 members who have not logged into the forums since 2001. Once again, this is just an example that post counts and membership numbers are irrelevant here. Quality, not quantity....

We have our first annual Corvette Action Center CruiseFest coming up in Auburn, IN in May. For more information on this, please visit:

http://corvetteactioncenter.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=208

and:

Corvette Action Center 1st Annual CruiseFest 2004 (http://corvetteactioncenter.com/events/cruisefest/)

As you can see, we've upgraded the forums with the next generation of forum software. The software has been completely re-written for greater optimization and more user options. As a result, we have found that our hardware resources are incapable of handling peak loads and as a result, we are now looking to upgrade our servers. Because of the increased traffic we've seen and the expected rate of growth through 2004, we need to move the Corvette Action Center to more robust equipment that is capable of handling current and future growth.

This is something that will not come cheap. We are currently looking at several different avenues and this will take some time.

Supporting Members

Although we do have some companies that pay to advertise here, for the most part, the Corvette Action Center was not designed to be a business or revenue stream. I've always been happy if the operating costs balance out with the revenue intake and we break even, however, that is not going to be the case for 2004. Because of the server upgrades that we need, we need to explore new avenues for generating revenue. I cannot continue to personally foot the bill for the site. If I was a millionaire or had a much larger salary than I do, I wouldn't care, but that is simply not the real world that I live in.

As a result, we decided to implement a "Supporting Membership" level here in the forums. For a minimum payment of $5.00 per year, you will have:

Access to the Members' Galleries where you can upload photos for use here in the forums. You will not be able to link to those photos here from other web sites. Please keep in mind that this does not give you the ability to upload photos that are enormous and coming in at 250KB+. Photographs that are that large are unnecessary and there are several free software programs out there that you can use to decrease the size of your photos.
Member Profile Photos. Member profile photos have returned once again and Supporting Members can now upload a profile photo to be used in their Member Profiles.
Although not implemented just yet, Supporting Members will be able to choose which forum style they wish to use when viewing the forums. This is something we're working on right now.
I've had some concerns about implementing this system, but everyone within the administration agrees that it is the right thing to do. Non-supporting members can still view the forums, post and reply to threads, and still access the rest of the site with the exception of the Members Galleries. Whether you choose to become a Supporting Member or not, is entirely up to you and you will not be treated any differently by anyone within the administration. Your support is strictly voluntary.

If you wish to become a Supporting Member, simply click on the UserCP link in the upper left hand corner of the blue navigation bar and scroll down to "Paid Subscriptions" under the Miscellanous heading. You can see this thread for more information:

http://corvetteactioncenter.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44519

I think I've rambled on, long enough. Here's to hoping that 2004 is another prosperous year for the Corvette Action Center! :beer

Yoda
01-30-04, 12:19 PM
I'll :beer and hoist another :beer to that :dance

Bud

GusVette
01-30-04, 08:13 PM
Great Read!!!
Thanks for providing a great place to communicate with other corvette owners. I appriciate all the hours and work involved to maintain this board.
:beer
Gus

sherry_ridgeway
01-30-04, 08:48 PM
i agree, and once again i give my applause to rob for stating things so clearly and keeping us all in line , I for one will do my best in keeping within the boundries and rules of this organization and try to be a better member than i have in the past year, PLEASE lets all help out to keep this place a fun loving,informative/adult way of sharing the true expierence of driving/repairing/discussing/maintaining/helping/respecting/and loving our babys we call the true american icon ..the corvette..sherry:)

bossvette
01-31-04, 12:28 AM
Rob
thanks again for a job well done :upthumbs I am slowly learning how to use the new features
Craigsr

vettered91
01-31-04, 02:47 AM
Rob,


Since the day I discovered CAC it has been some kind of home to me. I spend here not less than 3 hours everyday (I have like Ken uses to say a very addictive personality), reading, looking for info and some times posting. There are members here (the most) that I really feel & care like if we where very close friends, mainly we share the same passion (vettes) but still sometimes we share emotions, good, bad and hilarious. I spend one year here before I registered because I'm a good english reader, I speak well but to write it down... Oh boy, that's another story. It used to take me two hours to make a post but not anymore... now just takes me 1 1/2 :L .

I'm almost sure I have seen most of the troubles and differences you're talking about and I have seen those times when people seemed to be testing you and 99% of the time I had to agree with you and the way you handled every situation.

What I'm trying to say here the best I can is BIG THANKS FOR LET ME FEEL YOUR HOME (CAC) IS MY HOME!!! :w

BTW This is the first post I do without the dictionary (maybe it came from deep inside?)

George.

MichaelTT
01-31-04, 07:53 AM
Although I am new to the C6 forum and not a heavy poster (found reading and learning works better when not posting ;) I am enjoying the crowd here and find your site to be very informative and well managed. I took the liberty of copy/paste your editorial over on the AudiWorld TT forum so that many could learn and understand about running forums. Unfortunately, about a year+ ago there was a MAJOR falling out of about 50 forum members with the owner of AudiWorld over the issue of moderation (aka censorship) that resulted in a wholesale depart of them over to another site. The TT forum was truely like a family and it was sad to see the breakup...now I have to be on two TT forums to keep in touch with everyone. Anyway I hope the new year is smooth sailing for you and whether or not I end up buying a C6 (will decide when I finally see/touch/drive one) I am enjoying your site and the forums...
Michael

bill81vette
01-31-04, 09:54 AM
Rob..having only been a vette owner for several weeks,and on the forum for the same,I must say I think you run a VERY GOOD forum!!!it is well suited for what i anticipate I will need as i start working on my vette in the spring.I find it is very informative, and everybody seems to have a good time as well as a few laughs!!as well as a good bunch of people involved..from you all the way to the members and guests!!!keep up the GREAT WORK!!!:beer :beer :w :w

realtor
01-31-04, 11:00 AM
Sorry to hear that you have gone through some difficulties but it sounds like 2004 may be brighter for you. I belong to another organization that uses a very simple approach to life.... "God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference." Just so I don't set off a fire storm, the God referred to in that quote is a higher power of each individual person's understanding. I find it makes my k\life a lot simpler and less frutrating if I don't waste one moment of time on things I cannot change.

As it regards the Forum, I support your viewpoint 100%. It's your Forum and it is your rules. It is amazing to me that a view ignorant people can twist the very "rights" they espouse to justify their singularly selfish and uninformed positions. I notice the absence of one or two prior Forum participants who were particularly vocal about "rights". The only thing I miss about them is the ability to challange their stupidity.

I hope most people appreciate the time, effort and money that goes in to underwriting, maintaining and upgrading this Forum. I certainly do and will be adding my name as a Supporting Member shortly.

Best wishes for the new year

Scott Winebarger
01-31-04, 02:11 PM
I am proud to be a member here , Good job Rob.

warren s
01-31-04, 02:36 PM
Rob-

This site has been, and continues to be what the internet should be all about. I have made friends from this site. I have saved money by corresponding with other Vette owners from this site, and though I may not share the same points of view as some, I have enjoyed some of the best intellectual exchanges with others on this site.

Considering the endless resources here and the knowledge I already gained from being a member of the CAC, the few bucks to be a supporting member is but a drop in the bucket.

Thank you for taking on such a gigantic task that must be growing into a huge financial and personal burden.

If you ever have a "fundraiser" you can count on my support.
Warren S.

boomer
01-31-04, 02:59 PM
Wow, you've just inspired me to become a supporting member... :BOW Although I don't have much for posts, I very much enjoy reading and learning. Thanks.
Oliver

Neal
01-31-04, 09:56 PM
Sorry to hear this last year brought about your loss. While not bearing the loss of any loved ones, I lost my job last year, so I too am glad to have 2003 behind me. I'm hoping to find something soon before my severance runs out or else I may have to sell my '58. But even so, I'll be mailing you a check, as I've truly enjoyed your site and plan on hanging around, even if I end up Vetteless in Seattle........

neal

file:///c:/1958.jpg

fatboy-vette
01-31-04, 11:00 PM
God bless Rob, Im behind you and thankyou.

68Roadster
01-31-04, 11:22 PM
In Dec of 2002 when I joined this group, I thought I knew quite a bit about Corvettes.
After surfing thru here for the past 14 months, I found out that I didn't know SQUAT.
If it hadn't been for this forum I would probably have a 36 year old car laid out in pieces in the garage.
I have found this site useful beyond explanation, technical yet full of people who enjoy their cars as well as life and aren't afraid to spread it around. As for the rules, you have to have some and the ones we have never outweigh the benefit.
5 bucks is a small price to pay for the resource we have at our fingertips.
Keep up the good work and let us know how we can help!

froggy47
02-01-04, 02:26 AM
Hi Rob,

We got State of the Union, State of the State, and State of the CAC. Well written State of the CAC. Sorry for the sour 2003 but sounds like you're on track for a great 2004.

I have my own business, got authority & got responsibility for everything - same with you and CAC. It's your baby and to make it what you want it to be you have to exercise your authority.

I think it's run just fine, keep up the good work!

Evolution1980
02-01-04, 11:33 AM
Ask and ye shall receive!

Rob, I think when I first met you person I had mentioned about setting up a 'donation' type system, and I'm pretty sure that I've expressed my feelings in the forums about having paying members. I know I'm up for it and I'll certainly throw more than just 5 bones.

Now, as far as your server upgrades... I'm guessing that there may be quite a few people here well entrenched in the computer industry. Why not post a list of things you are looking for regarding the upgrades. I maaaaay be able to help out and get you parts 'donated'. I know I have tons of stuff filling up quite a few rooms. I might have some things that will work (assuming you are running x86 architecture and not Sun or something).

froggy47
02-01-04, 02:26 PM
PS:


How about an alternative to PayPal? My PayPal got hacked about a year ago & they (PayPal) were not very helpful about fixing my account. See www.paypalsucks.com (http://www.paypalsucks.com/).

I'm not bashing them, seems to work for a lot of people, but if you are one of the unfortunate few you are in for a lot of grief. I'll send you a check if you pm or email or post the info on how to make it out, etc. The info I've got from cac members is worth a lot.

There are also tshirts/window decals/coffee mugs that have a decent markup & are not too difficult to procure.

In the long run you might consider forming a nonprofit/educational/public service entity for cac. If properly formed & approved the donations would be tax deductible (like PBS) and you & staff draw a regular w2 salary. Just a few thoughts.

Talk to your local accountant/lawyer.

SeeYa.

froggy47
02-01-04, 02:38 PM
PS:




There are also tshirts/window decals/coffee mugs that have a decent markup & are not too difficult to procure.


Never mind, I just found the Pro Shop! :D

froggy47
02-01-04, 08:51 PM
I found the address too, checks in the mail (Just kidding about Paris Hilton - other thread:D <GRIN>)

road_racefan
02-02-04, 07:21 PM
I've only been a member a short time, but sure have learned a lot in that time. Hope 2004 goes well for you. Know the feeling after having lost my wife to cancer last September.

You made becoming a supporting member easy, and I hope to volunteer at the meet in May to meet some of the other members.

bradfordsvettes
02-02-04, 09:27 PM
Rob you do a great job here my past year has not been that great either like you hope 04 is better. 5 bucks is a pitance for the wealth of info here i hope what i do contribute is productive although not near as much as other members.If there is any thing i can do to help feel free to pm . keep up the good work and heres for a great 04:beer :upthumbs Steve

oldace84
02-03-04, 08:06 PM
Love what you pened. Great thoughts.
Makes me proud.
tony

VRGSVET
02-04-04, 05:30 AM
Rob,

Awesome site, keep up the great work. I agree with everything you said. It's sad to me that you should have to explain the obvious to everyone, but that's reality. Anyway, you convinced me to become a supporting member, also. Thanks.

Paul

Silver97
02-04-04, 05:22 PM
This is a great place for all of us, keep up the great work and Thank You for all you do :beer

I will pay asap.

:)

Edmond
02-06-04, 04:15 PM
I think the forum changed a lot last year. Maybe grow is a better term instead of change. But I've been a member here since 2001 and it's really grown and changed. There have been the constant supporters of the forum and I hope that I'm one of them. I certainly don't have much technical knowledge and I'll always ask if I don't know. There were a lot of projects that I undertook last year with some encouragement and guidance from the CAC members here. I went to look at a ZR-1 for Sleepyhead last winter and in the process, got the ride of my life in that ZR-1. To think of it, I didn't do it for Sleepyhead, I did it for myself! :L:L:L

2003 was a rough year for me personally. No, I didn't lose my job and no one close to me died. But in terms of relationships with other people, it was very rough and I'm glad that dealing with things like that is done with. A lot of members went through rough times last year and it's just a relief to have this big family on the forum to talk to.

One of the greatest strengths of this forum is that we can talk about anything. We are all human beings first and Corvette enthusiasts second. We all have personal issues and there are a lot of forums that won't let you talk about those issues.

Kudos to the Forum! :beer

BTDOG
02-06-04, 11:11 PM
Great job Rob! Thanks for all you do and have done for CAC. I am proud to say count me in for another year.

Mike :BOW

justafamilyman
02-07-04, 12:42 PM
Hi Rob,
Finding others who dissagree is enevitable. Having the strenght to follow what you believe (especially when it is correct) show character. That is what permeates thru the entire CAC.
If I agree, I'm on board. If I dissagree, well I just have to go on.
The bottom line is that whatever problems you may have had while "being the captain" of the CAC ship, you have not allowed those problems to affect the course of the CAC.
There are many fine people whose threads, posts and replied I have enjoyed.
Keep on keeping on, and don't forget to wave.
Blew Borg Brian 1 of 58

JR_Vette
02-09-04, 12:55 PM
I don't post much here, but I just wanted to drop in and say I agree 100% with your decision. It's your forum, your rules and I respect your decision.

LT4man
02-09-04, 11:08 PM
Rob,
You are a heck of a guy and you have a heck of a site. The people out here have been helpful beyond belief. The credit for that goes back to you. I have had the honor of meeting you. I hope most of the folks here get to the Cruise Fest so they will be able to see for themselves what I am saying.
I am very sorry about your loss. Please keep your eyes aimed toward the heavens.
Do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance whatsoever.
Save the wave!

vette84us
02-12-04, 01:18 PM
Read your statement Keep up the good work.I want to gained more knowledge on corvette. New member

Her 92
02-15-04, 03:35 PM
Rob,

I agree with your statement 100%. You run a GREAT forum here, sorry I haven't been around much lately. :w

toad
02-15-04, 10:21 PM
Rob,
Just keep up the good work you have been doing. Places like these have to have
rules. I enjoy this formemensely. Toad

robertee4
02-29-04, 03:12 AM
Though I usually subscribe to the Groucho Marx theory that I never would want to be part of a group that would have me as a member;LOL I take pride in being a new supporting member of this forum and hope to be able to contribute as much as I've learned from here.

C-4 Now
03-01-04, 07:22 PM
Rob;

Though I don't usually spend time on forums I find the CAC inviting and informative.:upthumbs I'm sure after meeting so many great Corvette people since buying my first one in 1969 that the group will continue to do many good things.
My checks on its way. Hope 2004 is good to you. Also hoping to do the Auburn Cruise. :cool

Thanks Ike:w